Many people wonder if they can use their smoothie maker to make juices instead of having to buy a separate juicer. The short answer is yes, you can use a smoothie maker as a juicer! However, there are some important things to consider to make sure you get the best results.
How a Smoothie Maker Works
A smoothie maker, sometimes called a blender, uses fast spinning blades to blend and chop up fruits, vegetables, ice, and other ingredients into a drinkable consistency. The blades pulverize everything you put into it into tiny pieces and mixes it with the liquid to create a smooth texture.
Smoothie makers are designed to finely blend ingredients while keeping the fiber intact. This is what gives smoothies their thick, creamy texture. The retained fiber is also what makes smoothies a more nutritious choice than juices.
How a Juicer Works
A juicer extracts the liquid parts of fruits and vegetables from the solid parts. It separate the juice from the pulp. Juicers use centrifugal force, gravity, or masticating mechanisms to efficiently extract as much juice as possible while ejecting the dry pulp.
There are three main types of juicers:
- Centrifugal juicers: These fast juicers grind ingredients into pulp and spin it to force the juice out.
- Masticating juicers: Also called slow or cold-press juicers, these crush and press produce to “chew” out the juice.
- Citrus juicers: Designed specifically for juicing citrus fruits like oranges, lemons, and limes.
The key difference between a smoothie maker and juicer is that a juicer separates the fiber from the liquid to produce a smooth, pulp-free juice.
Can You Use a Smoothie Maker as a Juicer?
While smoothie makers and juicers are designed differently, you can use a blender or smoothie maker to make juice. However, there are some drawbacks to this method:
- It will not separate the pulp from the juice, so your juice will have texture and fiber in it.
- The juice yield may be lower than a dedicated juicer.
- Some smoothie makers, especially lower powered ones, may not fully break down and extract juice from tougher produce.
If you’re okay with these limitations or prefer smoother juices with fiber, then using a smoothie maker is a perfectly valid option. Here are some tips for getting the most juice out of your smoothie maker:
Tips for Using a Smoothie Maker as a Juicer
- Chop produce into small pieces so it blends more efficiently.
- Blend fruits/veggies one at a time instead of together for highest yield.
- Alternate blending and straining in batches to extract the most juice.
- Use a fine mesh strainer or nut milk bag to strain out excess fiber/foam.
- Add some water or other liquid to help blend and extract juice.
- Powerful blenders like Vitamix or Blendtec work best.
Pros and Cons of Using a Smoothie Maker as a Juicer
- Don’t need to buy a separate appliance.
- Retains beneficial fiber from produce.
- Can make smoothies and juices in one machine.
- Typically easier to clean than a juicer.
- Blends seeds, stems, and skins that some juicers can’t handle.
- May get lower juice yields compared to a juicer.
- Can’t make 100% pulp-free juice.
- Juice has a thicker, pulpier consistency.
- Smaller motor blenders may not fully extract juice.
- Takes more time straining juice in batches.
Smoothie Maker Juicing Tips
Follow these tips to get the most out of using your smoothie maker as a juicer:
- Choose a blender with a high-powered motor (at least 1,000 watts). This will pulverize produce more efficiently for maximum juice extraction.
- Juice fruits and vegetables one at a time. Don’t overload the blender with too much produce at once.
- Cut ingredients into small, manageable pieces before adding to blender. The smaller the produce, the easier it is for the blender to break it down.
- Alternate short blending cycles with straining through a sieve or nut milk bag. This ensures you extract as much juice as possible.
- Pour a little water or other liquid in the blender to help liquefy the juice and give the blender something to grip. About 1/4 to 1/2 cup per batch is usually sufficient.
- Squeeze strained pulp to release any remaining juice before discarding. Compost the leftover pulp if possible.
- Rinse blender container and blade immediately after juicing highly pigmented produce like beets or berries. Letting it sit will stain the plastic.
- If foam develops while juicing, skim it off between batches or after straining. Foam is caused by agitation and doesn’t negatively impact the juice.
Best Fruits and Vegetables to Juice in a Smoothie Maker
All produce can be juiced in a blender or smoothie maker. However, some fruits and vegetables are easier to juice than others. Here are some of the best options:
- Oranges, grapefruit, lemons, limes – Citrus fruits are high in juice and easy to extract.
- Apples, pears, grapes, melons – High juice content.
- Berries – Raspberries, blueberries, strawberries, etc. break down easily.
- Pineapple – Contains bromelain enzyme that helps extract juice.
- Mangos, peaches, plums – Contain just the right texture and fiber ratio for blending.
- Tomatoes – Mealy, seedless texture juices well.
- Carrots, celery – High water content makes for easy juicing.
- Cucumbers – Very high water content, great for hydrating juices.
- Spinach, kale, lettuce – Delicate leafy greens blend easily.
- Sweet peppers, broccoli, asparagus – Juicy and blend smoothly.
Harder, denser produce like beets, ginger, and apples may require extra blending time or water to break down fully. But experiment with what you have on hand to discover your smoothie maker’s juicing abilities.
Smoothie Maker Juice Recipes
Your smoothie maker opens up lots of possibilities for making fresh, delicious juices right at home. Try out these enticing juice recipes:
Green Juice Recipe
- 1 cucumber
- 2 green apples
- 1 cup kale leaves
- 1⁄2 lemon
- 1-inch piece ginger
- 1⁄2 cup water
- Chop cucumber and apples. Put in blender.
- Add kale leaves.
- Squeeze in lemon juice. Add ginger.
- Pour in water.
- Blend on high until smooth consistency is reached, about 1 minute.
- Strain through fine mesh strainer, nut milk bag or cheesecloth. Squeeze juice from pulp. Discard pulp.
- Pour juice into glasses. Serve chilled if desired.
Citrus Berry Juice
- 1 pink grapefruit, peeled and segmented
- 1 orange, peeled and segmented
- 1 cup strawberries
- 1⁄2 cup raspberries
- 1⁄2 cup water
- Put grapefruit and orange segments in blender.
- Add strawberries and raspberries.
- Pour in water.
- Blend until smooth consistency reached, about 30-60 seconds.
- Strain through fine mesh strainer, pressing fruit against sides to extract liquid. Discard pulp.
- Pour juice into glasses. Add ice if desired.
Spicy Tomato Juice
- 4 medium tomatoes, chopped
- 1 small cucumber, chopped
- 1⁄4 cup chopped red bell pepper
- 1 carrot, chopped
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1⁄4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1⁄4 teaspoon paprika
- 1⁄4 teaspoon sea salt
- 1⁄2 cup water
- Put tomatoes, cucumber, bell pepper and carrot in blender.
- Add lemon juice, cayenne, paprika and salt.
- Pour in water.
- Blend until smooth, about 1 minute.
- Strain through a fine mesh strainer into glasses, pressing to extract liquid. Discard pulp.
- Chill juice in refrigerator 1-2 hours before drinking. Serve over ice if desired.
Smoothie Maker vs. Juicer – Which Is Better?
So when it comes down to smoothie maker vs. juicer, which appliance reigns supreme for juicing? Here is a comparison:
|Pulp in juice?
|Thick and smooth
|Thin and smooth
|Slow, requires straining
|Very fast juicing
|Can juice anything
|Some produce doesn’t juice well
As shown, both appliances can make juice but juicers are specially designed for the task. Juicers extract higher yields and leave no pulp. But smoothie makers offer greater flexibility, easier cleaning, and lower cost. Choosing between the two comes down to personal preferences and juicing needs.
While smoothie makers and juicers utilize different mechanisms, you can absolutely use a blender or smoothie maker to make juice at home. The resulting juice will have more body and texture than a juicer, and require more straining, but can still be delicious and nutritious.
High-powered blenders like Vitamix and Blendtec are best suited for juicing in a smoothie maker, while weaker blenders may struggle to break down tougher produce. For maximum juice extraction, be sure to chop ingredients small, alternate blending and straining, and add water as needed.
Juicing leafy greens, citrus fruits, tomatoes, cucumbers, carrots, and apples tend to yield great results in a smoothie maker. The convenience and versatility of being able to make both smoothies and juices in one appliance makes a strong case for using your smoothie maker as a juicer.
However, if you want completely smooth, pulp-free juice, a dedicated juicer is still the better option. But for an all-in-one blending appliance, smoothie makers can certainly double as an improvised juicer in a pinch!